Imagine setting out on a road trip for eight days across a country steeped in culture and vibrant color where each stop along the way is completely different than the next. Where you find yourself ducking through souks in winding city streets one day and gazing across diverse landscapes on a long drive another. This is the magical, contrasting beauty of Morocco.Read More
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Notes on a lovers' lifestyle....
SHOP BEACH MAXI DRESSES
Books to read: The Vacationers (Emma Straub), A Winter in Majorca (George Sand), Wild Olives: Life in Majorca with Robert Graves (William Graves), Turning Up at Dawn (Tomas Graves), The Rocks (Peter Nichols), Living in Style Mallorca (Christine von Auersperg)
9 am: the sun's starting to pour through the curtains and there's 3 things on my mind: a café solo from the coffee man we've started calling "our coffee man", a sugary sweet ensaimada from the bakery one door over from him (it's similar to a beignet I suppose and a delicacy in Mallorca), and the beach, of course. After we wander along through the sleepy streets of Arta, inevitably we'll decide which beach on this island will be ours for the day.
I peer out of the window, and as expected, the sun's waves are dancing upwards and calling me out, I push open the shutters and the sounds of the village are just starting to join in on what the sun's started: the zip zip and then zooooom of our neighbors moped, the children down the alley being hustled along to school and I settle back into the thinking of "oui, si, oh yes, I could live here - like this - forever."
This trip is different for me, technically - we're on vacation. We drink rosé with lunch, a local red with the late afternoon tapas, and we share a bottle more at night with whatever seafood dinner we're having. One day in and we were fully settled: food + wine, morning trips to the market and seaside drives, long soaks in our oversized bathtub at night: and we've said to each other over and over "vacaciones con mi amor!"
I thought quite a bit about what to share with you here, and truly, a trip to Mallorca in the off season means we had the beaches often to ourselves, we hiked Torrent de Parreis (plan a day for it) with just a few others, and our trips into the Serra de Tramuntana involved us, a few cyclists and locals, and only the occasional tour bus hair pinning up the winding roads directly at us.
I won't give you a "must see" list - the island is a bit more than that - however here's a few things I'll add to your list if you visit:
The Markets: Arta on Tuesdays, Sineu on Wednesdays, there on the weekend? Check around, you'll find one
The Beaches: Cala Gat at Cala Ratjada, Cala d'Or, Cala Pi, Cala Banyalbufar, Cala Deia, Sa Calobra and honestly I could go on and on (and on)
The Beach Towns & Villages: Arta (we stayed in an Airbnb that was an absolutely dream home), Deia, Fornalutx, Pollenca, Sineu, Santanyi, Valldemossa, & Port de Soller
Rent a car, it's cheap, and you can get anywhere.
One day we sat on our rooftop all afternoon - at sunset I looked down into the alley ways, the smoke rising as the neighbors lit their evening fires and commented: "there is something very Jim Jarmusch about this place..." a while later I opened another jar of olives and came across this quote: "if anyone tells you there is only one way, their way, get as far way from them as possible, both physically and philosophically."
In that moment, I pulled myself closer into Ben, the sun bounced down over the hazy mountain and then fireworks lit up the sky - we found ourselves running into the plaza to see what it was all about. We trailed along to find a wedding party second lining through the village! And right there in our small town of Arta ... tears fell from my eyes, a mix of wine and wonder and because this world offers so much. Love and celebration: that stuff happens everywhere, and today it was all ours and each of these lovers sharing this little island with us.
These travel diaries are often the hardest to write, why? because they're mine... no one else to photograph or interview or get local stories from... it's just me (and Ben, usually) out there experiencing the world and hoping to share the best of what we've found and experienced (even when we're on vacation) with you.
Gracias, always, for being here.
*wardrobe for this trip was provided by Ophelia Swimwear. Shop their collection at their newly launched online storefront.
We’re heading to one of those magical Music City places where legends are made. It's a storied place that's launched superstar after superstar - where music makers and music lovers travel hundreds and thousands of miles just to get their fix (because after all, isn't the sound and the stage one of the truest loves?).
It was a cold evening in a sleepy Tennessee town, November 28, 1925, when across the AM air waves a radio announcer introduced Uncle Jimmy Thompson as the first performer on a new show “The WSM Barn Dance.” It was the show that made country music famous....
Yes. It's the Grand Ole Opry.
About two years ago Ben & I had one of our first Nashville dates: a cocktail hour in the backstage dressing rooms of the Grand Ole Opry. It was MAGIC! This weekend we had our second Opry date night, this time at the Ryman, the famous former home and winter residence of the Opry, for the full show experience!
I'm asked regularly:
What should I do in Nashville if I'm a lover of style
I can only make it to one venue where should I go?
My people, ya know and I've shared a post about that.
I'm asked what should I do if I've only got a weekend, and I've got a post about that too (and lots more in my book). There's truly so many ways to enjoy the city! Today I'm giving you a peek inside one of the best date nights I've had, and one of the most dazzling places in Nashville.
Go On Tour
We started our evening early to get a little Opry history lesson. To experience it all there are three tour options available: Daytime Tour, Post-Show Tour and the ultimate VIP Tour, where you’ll get to be on stage as the red curtain goes up before being escorted to your seats. (BRILLIANT.)
We checked out famous set lists and guitars and perhaps my favorite part was seeing designer to the rhinestone cowboy stars, Nudie Cohn's embroidered and embellished suits up close and personal. Nudie was the tailor to everyone from Johnny Cash and Graham Parsons to Dolly Parton and Elvis.
It's Wine Time
After the tour we stepped into Cafe Lula - named for the secretary turned manager of the Ryman - Lula C. Naff. Lula was hired in 1904, eventually going into the booking business on her own and finally taking her business savvy skills into the top position at the Ryman before her retirement in 1955.
We sampled several small plates, and I'd go back for the Smoked Gouda Chips alone. Try them. You'll love 'em.
Magic in the Music
To me, the beauty in any given Opry night is seeing country music’s newest stars, superstars, and legends take to the stage one after the next. The Opry showcases all types of music under the country music umbrella: hit country, classic country, bluegrass, gospel, Western swing, and more. In addition to having welcomed to the Opry stage virtually every top artist in the genre, the show also introduces special guests every single week.
On our night we experienced a special moment as Rory Feek, who recently lost his wife (and musical partner) to cancer, was joined by his two daughters on stage to sing a tribute song to her. We sang along to a quirky and hilarious version of "Let It Snow" by Opry members since '82 - the Riders in the Sky. We reminisced to childhood days as Restless Heart played their #1 hits from the 80's.
The show, btw is live broadcast (just as it's always been) on 650 AM WSM (plus online, on Sirius and on the Opry app too) and it was a treat to see the behind the scenes moments involved in the making of the radio show.
Perhaps the highlight of the evening was the surprise collaboration as Jason Isbell joined his wife Amanda Shires on stage (a serious talent and star in her own right!) to play guitar alongside her headlining performance.
Ben & I left the night with a new appreciation for country music, and finding ourselves fans to several artists that were totally brand new to us. It was also a magnificent reminder of the starshine that is the musical community that Nashville is made of.
Interested in Planning Your Own Opry Date Night?
The Opry highlights country talent past and present, including the likes of Minnie Pearl, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Little Big Town, Carrie Underwood, Darius Rucker, Brad Paisley and countless others. The Grand Ole Opry hosts a rotating cast of talent at its live shows every Friday and Saturday year round. Additionally, Tuesday shows run from February to October and Wednesday shows from June through August.
During the winter months each year, the Opry moves back to its most famous former home, the Ryman Auditorium. Cafe Lula is open daily 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. and later on show nights.
Opry tickets, show information and tour details are available here.
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*this post was sponsored by the Grand Ole Opry; thank you to the Opry team for a brilliant evening. opinions as always, are mine.